IELTS Writing. Task 1. Pie chart

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Pizza as a pie chart

What is a pie chart?

A pie chart is used in data handling and is a circular chart divided up into segments which each represent a value.

Pie charts are divided into sections (or ‘slices’) to represent values of different sizes. 

Pie chart

For example, in this pie chart, the circle represents a whole class. Each member of the class was asked what their favourite subject was, so each segment of the circle represents a different favourite subject:

Pie charts are a visual device to help us understand data more easily. For example, in this pie chart we can see that sport was the most popular subject as more than half of the class said it was their favourite subject.

Pie charts often label each segment with a percentage. You need to know that if a quarter of the pie chart is clearly marked, this represents 25%. If half the pie chart is clearly marked, this represents 50%.

What’s required?

You need to know that in an IELTS writing pie chart question, you might see two pie charts or one pie chart. If you see two pie charts in a question, you will have to compare them in your writing. However, if there is only one pie chart, you will need to discuss the information you observe. As you can see, the strategies are quite different, so it’s important you are prepared for both question types.

How to start?

Before you attempt to write your 150-word description of the pie chart, you need to consider some steps to take beforehand in order to organize your thoughts:

  1. Define the task: summarizing, comparing.
  2. Analyze the information:
  • What is the type of the information represented?
  • Determine the largest and smallest slices.
  • What percentages do they represent?
  • What are the legends?

3. Compare the legends in the different pie charts:

  • check the relation between similar legends in the corresponding charts: increase, decrease, constant.

How to write

After you read the question and analyze the information in the pie chart, you need to plan your writing. Take notes of the language you’re going to use:

Verbs: show, represent, indicate, depict, illustrate.
This bar graph shows the relation between the number of students who have taken the IELTS exam.

Comparison vocabulary: similar(ly) , and, both and, like, as.

Contrast vocabulary: although, even though, on the other hand, but, reversely, whereas/


  • 52%: over a half
  • 2%: a small fraction
  • 30%: exactly 30%
  • 24%: roughly a quarter
  • 73%: around three quarters
  • 49%: about half
  • 80%: a large sector
  • 25% + 25%: the other half is equally shared between

When making comparisons: twice as, nearly 4 times.

Plan your writing

Introduction: 2 sentences

  • 1st sentence: paraphrase the question
  • 2nd sentence: identify the legends

Body paragraph 1: describe the first pie chart

Body paragraph 2: describe the second pie chart and compare it to the first

Conclusion: summarize the point of the pie charts whether it’s to show an increase or a decrease and mention the main features like the largest and the smallest portions.


  • Overall, it’s clear that….
  • Overall the majority of the people, water is the most favorite drink.
  • Overall amongst the six regions,……


  1. Sometimes you’re given 4 pie charts, each two represent the same information but for two countries in two different years for instance. In this case, the first body paragraph will include the description and the comparisons of the first two pie charts for the first country. The second body paragraph should also describe and compare between the other couple of charts for the second country.

2. If you’re given only two pie charts, describe the first chart and take as a reference then compare the other one to it. Check if the percentage of each legend increased, decreased or remained the same.

Extra advice

  • If you can’t compare the information, just give a summary of each picture.
  • Don’t provide your own opinion.
  • Match the tenses with the case in charts
  • Focus on getting the appropriate data from the charts
  • Learn nationalities
  • When you’re done with writing, read and check for errors.

Practice here

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